Schlagwort-Archive: Al Quds Mosque

Hamburg Jihadi Shahab D. killed in Drone Strike

by Florian Flade

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Almost exactly one year ago Shahab D. appeared for the first time in a propaganda video released by the „Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan“ (IMU). The 27 year-old Iranian was seen sitting in the mountains of Waziristan, holding a huge sword in his hands, praising Jihad and those who left their homeland to fight in Afghanistan.

„The only reason we left Germany and our parents is, for the victory of this religion!“, Shahab D. said in the October 2009 video titled „Advantages of Jihad“. The young Jihadi from Hamburg called himself „Abu Askar“.

Seven months prior to the release of the propaganda message, Shahab D. was living the life of a faithful Muslim in peaceful Hamburg, Northern Germany. When he was eleven years old, Shahab D. and his parents had fled Iran and arrived as asylum seekers in Germany in 1994.
The family settled in Hamburg, Shahab D. grew up as a regular German teenager of Muslim descent. He quickly learned the language and adapted to the culture of his new country.

It was shortly after 9/11, when the Iranian teenager became interested in the radical Muslim community who operated out of Hamburg´s most radical mosque – Masjid al Quds. Here, the Hamburg cell led by Mohammed Atta prayed and met. The hijackers celebrated weddings, attended sermons by an extremist Sheikh from Morocco and found many brothers sharing the same views and wish for Jihad.

Shahab D. visited the Al Quds-Mosque near the main train station, in St.Georg, a rather unpleasant suburb of Hamburg. Born an Irania Shiite, Shahab became interested and more and more drawn into the fundamentalist sect called Salafiyya. The men at the mosque welcomed the young worshipper, invited him to lectures and Ramadan celebrations.

Finally Shahab D. converted – a Shiite Iranian refugee had become a hardline Salafi. He grew his beard, changed the way he dressed, wearing long robes, imitating the Prophet Muhammad as much as possible.

One of the first people to notice how Shahab´s behavior changed and how his radical views increased by the month was his girlfriend, a 23 year-old dental student, the daughter to a West-African Muslim father and German mother. The young couple followed the ultraconservative interpretation of Quran and Sunnah, sticking to all the rules they could find in Salafi scholar texts. In the Hamburg mosque the two celebrated their wedding.

Influenced by his Muslim friends at the Al Quds Mosque – which had changed its name into „Masjid Taiba“ by then – Shahab D. was eager to migrate to a true Islamic country. He wanted to leave Germany, Europe and the West with all its sins and temptations, start a new life under Sharia law in Muslim lands.

Instead of moving to Saudi-Arabia or Yemen, Shahab D. and his wife decided to join militant fighters in the Afghan-Pakistan border region.
Several of Shahab´s friends and fellow worshippers at the Taiba Mosque shared this dream of going for Jihad, they were celebrating the 9/11 hijackers who had worshipped in this mosque, had met in this neighborhood and were close friends to other worshippers still living in Hamburg.

In Spring 2009 decision was made. Shahab D., his wife and three other people from the Masjid Taiba community (among them Afghan Ahmad Wali S. who is the America´s prime source for intel on the Euro-Plot) headed to Pakistan. On board a Qatar Airways flight the five Jihadi-recruits flew from Frankfurt Airport to Doha, Qatar, and then taking a connection flight to Peshawar, Pakistan. That was in March 2009.

Somewhere in Waziristan Shahab D. from Hamburg joined the „Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan“ and attended military courses and learned how to shoot guns, rockets and mortars. By May 2009, he finished terror training and became part of the fighting groups, assaulting Pakistani soldiers and possibly even Nato-troops in neighboring Afghanistan.

„One of the secrets of jihad is this tremendous, intense brotherhood among the Mujahideen“, Shahab D. said in a propaganda tape about his time in Waziristan, „Brothers from various countries side by side in the battle trenches – from Russia, from Morocco, Tunisia, China, Turkey, Europe, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Iran. Allah brought them together.“

One of Shabab´s comrades, the German-Afghan Javad S., died in combat, fighting Pakistani troops in Oktober 2009. Shahab D. recalled seeing S. firing an RPG at the Pakistani soldiers and then getting killed.

Now some credible information leads to suggest Shahab D. himself was killed in the hills of Waziristan. Jihadi sources say, the Hamburg Jihadi embraced „martyrdom“ alongside another German militant and several other foreign fighters, when a missile fired from an unmanned CIA drone hit a house in North Waziristan.

At least two militants of Tajik nationality and the two Germans were killed in the attack which happened near Miranshah. The exact date and location was not known.

If the reports are true – and there is no reason to doubt they are credible – the „Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan“ has lost one of the most valuable propaganda tools. German members of the militant group played a big role in the propaganda releases, drawing even more radicals from Germany to join them.

CNN had quoted the captured Hamburg Jihadi Ahmad Wali S., telling the US interrogators at Bagram prison, his friend Shahab D. was proposed to be a „foot soldier“ in al-Qaeda´s plot to target European cities. This information has never been confirmed.

Back home in Germany, Shahab D.´s mother told reporters a few days ago, her son was „fooled“ and „tricked“ into radical Islam by the extremists of now closed Masjid Taiba. Other sources say Shahab converted to the most radical branch of Islam to distance himself from his very strict father.

Read my article about the Two Killed German Jihadis on WELT Online.

The Hamburg Connection 2.0 – Al Qaeda´s EU Plot

by Florian Flade

Neun Jahre nachdem die Todespiloten um Mohammed Atta die 9/11-Anschläge verübten, steht Hamburg wieder im Focus der Terrorermittlungen. Ein Hamburger Dschihadist verriet al-Qaidas Pläne für Großanschläge in Europa.

Hamburger Dschihadist Shahab D. – Part of AQ´s EU-Plot?

Es ist der 04.März 2009 als drei Männer und zwei Frauen aus Hamburg am Frankfurter Flughafen in ein Flugzeug steigen, dass sie in das Golfemirat Katar bringen wird. Ein Anschlussflug führt ins pakistanische Peshawar.

Die fünf Islamisten wollen Deutschland verlassen, sie wollen im wilden Waziristan an der pakistanisch-afghanischen Grenze ein Leben im Dschihad führen, weit weg vom verhassten Westen.

Shahab D. ist einer von ihnen. Geboren 1983 im Iran, floh er mit seinen Eltern als Folge des Iran-Irak-Krieges und immigrierte 1994 in die Bundesrepublik. Seitdem lebte der Iraner in Hamburg und besuchte die Moschee Masjid Taiba, die inzwischen von den Behörden geschlossen wurde. Beeinflusst von den radikalen Glaubensbrüdern aus dem Umfeld des Hamburger Gotteshauses, konvertierte Shahab D., der gebürtiger Schiit war, zum extremistischen Sunnitentum – er wurde ein strenggläubiger Salafist, trug lange Gewänder und ließ seinen Bart wachsen.

Im Jahr 2008 heiratete D. seine Freundin, eine heute 23jährige Zahnmedizinerin, ihr Vater ist muslimischer Westafrikaner, die Mutter Deutsche. Das Pärchen hielt sich zunehmend an eine extrem strenge Koranauslegung und begann über die Ausreise in ein islamisches Land nachzudenken.

Im März 2009 war es schließlich soweit. D.´s Ehefrau log ihre Eltern an, erklärte Shahab und sie wollten eine Pilgerreise nach Saudi-Arabien unternehmen. In Wahrheit war das Ziel ein Ausbildungslager der „Islamischen Bewegung Usbekistans“ (IBU) im pakistanischen Waziristan.

Teil jener islamistischen Reisegruppe die am 04.März 2009 Deutschland verließ waren auch der Deutsch-Afghane Ahmad Wali S., dessen Ehefrau, eine Indonesierin, und sei Bruder Sulayman.
S. ist aus Sicht deutscher Sicherheitsbehörden kein Unbekannter. Er verkehrte in den Kreisen der Hamburger Masjid Taiba und hatte engen Kontakt zum mutmaßlichen Helfer der 9/11-Todespiloten, Mounir el-Motassadeq. Wie Motassadeq war S. bei einer Reinigungsfirma am Hamburger Flughafen tätig, beide machten kurz nach dem 11.September 2001 gemeinsam Urlaub in Nordafrika.

Ahmad Wali S. und seine Gesinnungsgenossen erreichten die pakistanischen Terrorlager im Frühjahr 2009. Der Iraner Shahab D. tauchte wenige Monate später erstmals in einem Propagandavideo aus Waziristan auf. Darin nannte er sich „Abu Askar“, posierte mit einem mächtigen Schwert, auf dem Koranverse eingraviert waren. „Wir haben Deutschland und unsere Familien nur verlassen, damit Allah´s Wort das höchste wird!“, tönte der Hamburger Islamist. Shahab D. lebt offenbar seinen Traum vom Dschihad.

Sein Reisebegleiter Ahmad S. kämpft nicht mehr in den Reihen der IBU. Ihn griffen US-Soldaten im Juli im afghanischen Kabul auf. Der Deutsch-Afghane wird seitdem auf dem US-Stützpunkt Bagram verhört. Er soll die Quelle jener Informationen sein, die seit etwa einer Woche weltweit für mediale Aufmerksamkeit sorgen.

Al-Qaida, so berichtete der Dschihadist aus Hamburg den Amerikanern, plane eine Anschlagswelle in Europa. Von Kommando-Aktionen ist die Rede, vergleichbar mit jenem Angriff auf Luxushotels im indischen Mumbai im November 2009. Kleine Trupps bewaffneter Islamisten sollen weiche Ziele in europäischen Großstädten überfallen und auch möglicherweise Geiseln nehmen.

Wie der SPIEGEL nun meldet, soll Ahmad S. den amerikanischen Ermittlern verraten haben, er habe im Frühsommer in der Ortschaft Mir Ali den nordafrikanischen al-Qaida Mann „Sheikh Younis al-Mauretani“ getroffen. Dieser habe ihm erzählt, Osama Bin Laden persönlich habe die Europa-Operationen genehmigt und auch das nötige Geld zur Verfügung gestellt.

Vor einigen Tagen meldeten bereits pakistanische Medien, der al-Qaida Führer Bin Laden habe die Anschlagsplanungen in Auftrag gegeben und als Wunsch-Ziele Frankreich, Deutschland, Dänemark und Großbritannien genannt. Geheimdienste verfolgten offenbar schon seit einem Jahr die Spur europäischer Dschihadisten in Waziristan, die mit den Terroranschlägen beauftragt worden sein sollen. Von acht deutschen Staatsbürgern und zwei Briten ist die Rede, wobei einer der britisch-pakistanischen Brüder in einem der jüngsten Drohnangriffe ums Leben gekommen sein soll.

Unbestätigten Berichten zufolge soll der Hamburger Terrorhäftling in Bagram zudem davon berichtet haben, dass al-Qaidas Militärchef, der Pakistaner Ilyas Kashmiri, ein Attentat während der „Commonwealth Games“ plane. Das Sportereignis findet vom 03.-14.Oktober im indischen Neu Delhi statt.

Ahmad S. erzählte im US-Verhör außerdem, dass er in Afghanistan gegen US-Truppen und afghanische Soldaten gekämpft hat. Dort habe er auch einen weiteren Hamburger Islamisten getroffen – Said Bahaji.

Bahaji gilt als einer der Unterstützer der Hamburger 9/11-Zelle. Der im niedersächsischen Haselünne geborene Sohn eines Marokkaners und einer Deutschen, hatte an der Technischen Universität Hamburg-Harburg studiert und dort den späteren Todespiloten Mohammed Atta kennengelernt. Genau wie die Hamburger Terrorzelle verkehrte auch Bahaji in der Al Quds-Moschee im Stadtviertel St.Georg.

Kurz vor den Anschlägen in New York und Washington, am 04.September 2001, floh Said Bahaji nach Pakistan. Deutsche Sicherheitsbehörden fingen E-Mails ab, die Bahaji in den vergangenen Jahren an seine Ehefrau in Deutschland schickte. Ende vergangenen Jahres fanden pakistanische Soldaten bei der Einnahme von Terrornestern in Süd-Waziristan, den Pass des Hamburger al-Qaida Helfers.

Deutsche Sicherheitsbehörden beobachten den radikalen Kern der Hamburger Islamistenszene seit Jahren. Neun Jahre nach den Anschlägen von 9/11 ist im Umfeld der Moschee der Todespiloten um Mohammed Atta, eine neue Generation militanter Islamisten herangewachsen. Der buntgemischter Haufen von Dschihad-Befürwortern verehrt jene deutschen Glaubensbrüder, denen in den letzten Jahren die Reise in die Terrorcamps Waziristans gelungen ist, und die sich regelmäßig in Propagandavideos zu Wort melden.

Neben Shahab D., Ahmad und Sulayman S. machten sich im Frühjahr 2009 nach Behördeninformationen bis zu acht weitere Islamisten aus der Hansestadt auf nach Pakistan. Die Liste liest sich wie eine islamistische Internationale. Ein französischer Staatsbürger steht darauf, er soll verheiratet sein mit der Tochter des marokkanischen Hasspredigers Sheikh Fazazi, und schleuste offenbar Terrorrekruten aus Europa in den Irak. Seyed A., ein weiterer Verdächtiger aus dem Hamburger Dschihadisten-Zirkel, ist wohnhaft in Großbritannien. Ein weiterer Deutsch-Iraner, ein Deutsch-Türke und ein staatenloser Islamist gehören ebenfalls zu jenen die aus Hamburg gen Waziristan reisten.

Zwei weiße Konvertiten, der Deutsch-Tschetschene Alexander J. (30) und der Deutsch-Kasache Michael W. (25) wurden noch bei ihrer Anreise in Pakistan festgenommen und in die Bundesrepublik abgeschoben. Sie leben wieder in Hamburg.

Die Hamburger-Reisegruppe traf sich regelmäßig in der Masjid Taiba und schmiedete Pläne in den Heiligen Krieg zu ziehen. Treibende Kraft soll dabei der ursprünglich aus Frankfurt am Main stammende Rami M. gewesen sein. Der 25jährige Deutsch-Syrer gilt als Anführer der Hamburger Islamisten und erreichte selbst im Frühjahr 2009 Pakistan.

Pakistanische Soldaten nahmen M. im Juni fest als er versuchte von Waziristan aus zur deutschen Botschaft in Islamabad zu reisen. Er hatte wohl bereits nach einem Jahr genug vom Dschihad-Urlaub und wollte sich deutschen Behörden stellen. Diese sahen in Rami M. ein Sicherheitsrisiko und ließen ihn festnehmen. Seit dem 26.August sitzt der Anführer der Hamburger Dschihad-Reisegruppe in Deutschland in Haft.

Al-Qaeda´s Euro-Plot – What to make of it?

by Florian Flade

„The Mujahideen are coming to you!“ – German al-Qaeda fighter

Groups of armed men wearing explosive devices on their bodies, attacking German train stations, the subway system of Paris, London Hotels and Italian Museums, killing hundreds of civilians and causing mass media attention over days . Bloodshed in the heart of Europe, nine years after 9/11.

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Was that the scenario al-Qaeda had planned for several European countries in a terror plot now uncovered and possibly foiled by Western intelligence agencies?

Let´s start where the rumors and unconfirmed intel whistle started. Two major U.S. newspaper, The Wall Street Journal and New York Times both reported recent increase in U.S. drone attacks on the Pakistani tribal areas of North Waziristan is the result of intelligence gathering suspecting terror networks in that region are planning major simultaneous Mumbai-style attacks on European cities.

Al-Qaeda and the Haqqani network of the Taliban operating out of Pakistan, are both involved in the Euro-Plot, targeting especially the UK, France and Germany. To prevent the terror networks, whose plans were in the early stage, from organizing the „Who“, „Where“, „How“ and „When“, the CIA boosted the drone hunt in North Waziristan. This led to an all time record in missile attacks on terror targets in the Pakistani tribal with more than 20 drone operations causing 70 casualties on the militant´s side in September 2010 – previous record was January with just 13 such attacks.

Drones killed fairly high-ranking al-Qaeda militants in recent days, including al-Qaeda´s Afghanistan-Pakistan Emir Egyptian Sheikh Fateh al-Masri, the Saudi AQ military commander of Afghan province Kunar, Abu Abdallah Omar al-Qureishi and a Kuwaiti bomb expert named Abu Atta.

In the course of this week, other media outlets in Europe and North America were reporting what their sources in government, anti-terror units and intelligence revealed about the suspected „Euro-Plot“.
The terrorist were planning to strike European cities with assault commando-style attacks similar to the ones that were carried out in Indian Mumbai at Luxury Hotels in November 2008. Groups of armed men attacking civilian „soft“ targets like train stations, hotels, museums, tourist places or the subway system in several European countries.

The major source for the intelligence leading to unravelling al-Qaeda´s plot, is a German-Afghan citizen who was arrested in Kabul, Afghanistan, in July.
Ahmad Wali S., a 36-year old Islamist and resident of Hamburg, had left Germany in March 2009 as part of a Eleven-Person-Group, to travel to Pakistan and join with the terror group „Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan.“
S. was a regular worshipper of the Masjid Taiba, formerly known as „Al Quds Mosque“ in St.Georg quarter of Hamburg. This was the mosque were Mohammed Atta and the other hijackers of the Hamburg cell of the 9/11 attacks met and prayed.

Ahmad Wali S., had worked for a cleaning company at Hamburg airport and was very close with the 9/11-Hijacker´s Moroccan helper Mounir al-Motassadeq who still lives in Germany. Both went on vacation together some years ago.
While in Hamburg, S. became part of a group known as the „Club of 50“, radical Salafi members and mosque visitors who were supporting violent Jihad.

Eleven people out of the fifty radical jihadis from Hamburg travelled to Pakistan via Iran, Qatar, Dubai and Turkey in spring of 2009. While most of the extremists reached their final destination, the training camps of „Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan“ (IMU), at least two men were arrested and sent back before they joined the terror group.

Ahmad Wali S., his brother and his Indonesian wife entered Pakistan´s tribal region and joined IMU. Why he travelled to Kabul, where S. was arrested by U.S. forces in July, is not known. Some German officials believe he was about to return to Germany.

In U.S. military prison at Bagram, Afghanistan, S. was interrogated by the Americans. He presented them useful information about the activities of the terror groups in Waziristan. S. was reluctant to speak, some sources say, telling the interrogators about an alleged plot by a joined-alliance of Pakistani Taliban, the Haqqani network, IMU and al-Qaeda. This plan to sent out commando-units to Europe, Ahmad S. claims, was approved by al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden.

Because of the information given by the arrested Hamburg jihadi, the CIA was able to identify several of the plotters and start a precise hunt in North Wazirstan using the deadly unmanned drones.

Meanwhile information from Pakistani officials indicate that the plotters of the attacks in Europe, were in fact themselves European. Two British brothers of Pakistani origin and eight German nationals are at the heart of the al-Qaeda plot, unconfirmed reports say. A North African is rumored to be the chief-planner.

Abdul Jabbar, one of the British jihadis, was possibly killed in one of the recent U.S. drone attacks in Pakistan.

British officials said they believe at least 15-20 British nationals are receiving terror training in al-Qaeda camps in North West Pakistan.
In Germany, intelligence monitors very closely who from the German radical Islamist community is traveling to terror camps and who is returning. Around 220 German nationals have been trained in Jihadi terror camps since the 1990s (73 are confirmed). Of those suspects who have returned since, few are behind bars, most of the returnees are monitored by police and intelligence.

Even though German officials have warned about the increase in Jihadi tourism from Germany to Waziristan, the trend in recent months was a different one. Intercepted e-mail exchange and phone calls made from Pakistan to Germany indicated a growing despair and hopelessness by the German militants.

Life in the terror camps of the IMU, the Islamic Jihad Union and it´s break-away group „German Taliban Mujaheddin“ is hard and almost unbearable, the reports from Pakistan suggested. The groups lacked money and food and the rise in drone attacks was grueling on the jihadi´s will to combat. They felt desperate, German intelligence concluded, many wanted to go home.

A prime example of the situation in the terror camps was presented in form of Rami M., a German-Syrian national originally from Frankfurt but residing in Hamburg. M., a former drug-dealer and low-profile criminal had turned to radical Islam and became the leader of the Hamburg Jihadi group. He was the one urging other young men to join the Mujahiddeen in Waziristan.

Rami M. travelled to Waziristan in March 2009 and joined the IMU. Just about one year later, in June 2010, Rami M. contacted the German embassy in Pakistan, telling them he wants to surrender and return to Germany. Problem was, Rami M. told the officials via phone, he had lost all his ID documents including his passport and driver´s license. The German embassy officials talked to intelligence and police in Germany, asking them what to make of M.´s case.

While most in the German intelligence community regarded Rami M. as a desperate young men, some experts were on alert. Could Rami M. be the next „Abu Dujana al-Khorasani“? A Jordanian al-Qaeda man had killed a team of CIA experts in Khost, Afghanistan, just a few months before in a suicide bombing.
German embassy in Pakistan arranged an appointment with Rami M., sending him documents he could use to pass checkpoints and reach the consulate in Islamabad.

German police were convinced Rami M. was planning an attack on the German embassy, so they called their Pakistani colleagues telling them about the „high-value terror target“ coming to a checkpoint in Bannu, near the tribal areas.
Indeed Rami M., dressed in a white Burqa, was arrested on June 21th, then held by Pakistani´s ISI and later handed over to German officials. On August 26th he returned to Germany and is in prison now.

In addition to Rami M.´s case, there is also the development of three German jihadis arrested at an airport in Istanbul in early September.
Berlin convert Thomas U., his pregnant convert wife and a German-Turkish national wanted for financial support to terror groups in Pakistan, were on their way back from Waziristan to Germany. Thomas U. and his wife planned on taking a flight from Istanbul to Copenhagen and cross the border to Germany via car. Why they returned? Probably because the pregnant woman was not willing to give birth to their child in a dirty Pakistani hut. No indication the couple was sent back to carry out a terror attack. Thomas U. had sent e-mails to his family in Berlin, decribing to them the situation in the IMU camps.

„I don´t know if I will be alive next summer“, Thomas wrote in December 2009.

So what to make of the reports saying it was a German-Jihadi-dominated plot the Europeans and Americans were tracking?

Fact is: there are dozens of German nationals training in Waziristan. Convert Eric Breininger, German-Afghan Javad S., German-Turkish Ahmet M., Berlin convert Danny R. and maybe even al-Qaeda spokesman Bekkay Harrach alias „Abu Talha the German“ became „martyrs“ in the past 12 months, most of them killed by Pakistani security forces. It is possible German nationals are involved in an international terror plot. Maybe the increase of drone attacks on Waziristan and the number of casualties have resulted in a growing eagerness to carry out revenge attacks in Europe.

If true, a cooperation between al-Qaeda, Pakistani groups like Lashkar e-Toiba, IMU, IJU, German Taliban Mujahideen, the Haqqani network and Tehrik e-Taliban could very well result in a devastating terror assault on European cities. Nevertheless more groups being involved also means more people are talking, sending e-mails, calling others, so the chance of the plot being uncovered by Western intelligence is huge. And: why no mention of Ilyas Kashimiri, the AQ chief of operations who must have had his hands on this plan?

Does al-Qaeda want to strike Europe? YES. France and Belgium banned the Burqa, Germany, UK and Italy are part of the Afghanistan-occupation, Denmark and Sweden have insulted the prophet, Netherlands are home of Geert Wilders – the list of reasons for al-Qaeda to attack the continent is growing. And so is the number of terror recruits coming to Waziristan.

Still the word of most European intelligence officials: „No imminent threat“.